|Sehwag hits his way to his highest one-day score off 140 balls [AFP]|
Virender Sehwag smashed 175 off 140 balls and upcoming star Virat Kohli hit an unbeaten century as India overpowered Bangladesh by 87 runs in the opening match of the Cricket World Cup at Mirpur Stadium on Saturday.
The pair added 203 for the third wicket as India piled up 370-4, the fifth highest World Cup total, after Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan’s decision to field first in the Group B match backfired when his bowlers failed to contain the onslaught led by opener Sehwag.
Out for revenge over Bangladesh for India’s five-wicket defeat in the 2007 World Cup which helped lead to their first stage exit, Sehwag hit his highest one-day score off 140 balls.
Bangladesh made a spirited chase of the daunting target at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium before ending at 283-9 with opener Tamim Iqbal making 70 and Shakib playing a captain’s knock of 55 off 50 balls in the opening match.
The result silenced a sell-out stadium crowd of 25,000 and thousands of home fans watching on television, who had expected Bangladesh to repeat the famous win over India in 2007.
Sehwag seemed unstoppable during his 140-ball innings, smashing 14 fours and five sixes. He paced his innings well, chipping the ball around when the boundaries were not coming, and using his feet well against spinners to increase the scoring rate later in the innings.
Sehwag equalled Kapil Dev’s 175 not out against Zimbabwe at Taunton in 1983 for the fourth highest individual score in World Cup cricket and the second highest by an Indian in the tournament.
Sehwag was finally out in the 48th over, dragging in a ball from left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan.
Sehwag and his fellow Delhi team-mate Kohli ensured the run-rate remained well above six-an-over and increased it further after the batting powerplay was taken in the 35th over. The two garnered 48 runs in those five overs and continued in the same vein later.
Kohli found the gaps with ease, smashing eight fours and two sixes during his 83-ball knock, and getting to the three-figure mark in the final over.
|India v Bangladesh scorecard|
Tendulkar was earlier run out for 28 because of an uncharacteristic bad judgment of a single and left-hander Gambhir showed a better understanding with Sehwag but was out when shaping up well at a run-a-ball 39.
“I’ve always said this is a revenge game and we really played well,” a beaming man-of-the-match Sehwag said during the presentation ceremony.
“I started really well and kept telling myself I have to bat at least 20, 30 overs. If I could bat (that long), I could maybe score a hundred in 30 overs.”
Sehwag needed a runner after reaching three figures having hurt his left knee while trying to push Rubel Hossain for a single in the 38th over of India’s innings.
“It’s a little sore,” he said.
Despite the win, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said there was still work to be done ahead of their next match against England in Bangalore on February 27.
“In the fielding, we need to contribute more and save around 10 runs,” said Dhoni, who praised Sehwag and Kohli.
“When you have lost a couple of wickets, you need to stabilise, and it was nice to see Sehwag and Kohli do that.”
Bangladesh’s next engagement is against Ireland here on February 25. South Africa, West Indies and Netherlands are the other teams in Group B.